To accurately compare fees, services, and deliverables between different IT services companies, it’s essential to understand the two primary pricing and service models commonly offered in the industry. While some companies may offer a combination of both models, others strictly adhere to one service plan. The two most prevalent models are as follows:
Time and Materials (Hourly): Referred to as “break-fix” services, this model involves calling an IT company to fix issues as they arise rather than providing regular maintenance and support. These services are typically billed hourly, with the cost varying depending on the service provider and the complexity of the problem. For instance, resolving a ransomware attack would require a more skilled technician than fixing a simple printer problem.
Under this model, negotiation may be possible when purchasing a block of hours. The scope of work can range from addressing problems like slow Wi-Fi or email issues to undertaking more extensive projects such as software upgrades, cybersecurity implementations, or office relocations. Some companies also offer staff augmentation and placement under this model.
Additionally, break-fix services are value-added reseller (VAR) services. VARs typically handle IT projects for organizations with internal IT departments, reselling hardware and software while providing installation, setup, and configuration services. Over the past decade, many VARs have transitioned to the managed IT services model.
Managed IT Services (MSP – Managed Services Provider): In this model, an IT services company, known as an MSP, assumes the role of a fully outsourced IT department for your organization. The MSP manages all aspects of your IT infrastructure, including but not limited to:
- Set up and support various devices (PCs, tablets, Macs, workstations) for on-site and remote employees.
- Installation and support of applications such as Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, SharePoint, etc.
- Network security setup and management to protect against cyber threats.
- Data backup and disaster recovery assistance.
- Providing a dedicated help desk and support team.
- Managing your phone system.
- Continuously monitor and maintain computer networks for optimal performance and security.
A reputable MSP will also offer an IT roadmap and budget for essential projects to enhance network security, improve application stability, and ensure compliance with data protection regulations (e.g., HIPAA, FTC Safeguards, PCI). They will also ensure your cyber protections align with your cyber insurance plan requirements.
The advantage of break-fix services lies in the flexibility of paying for IT support only when needed, without being tied to monthly or multi-year contracts. However, there are significant downsides, particularly for organizations beyond the microbusiness level or those handling sensitive data:
- Expense: Multiple issues can become costly under the break-fix model due to longer troubleshooting times and lack of preventative maintenance.
- Hourly Billing: Hourly billing can incentivize IT consultants to assign less experienced technicians, potentially extending resolution times.
- Risk of Major Issues: Break-fix services may not prevent major IT problems, increasing the likelihood of disruptions.
- Budgeting Challenges: Unpredictable costs can make budgeting for IT services difficult.
- Priority: Contracted managed clients often take priority over break-fix clients, potentially leading to longer response times.
To eliminate ongoing IT problems, minimize downtime, and enhance your systems’ effectiveness, consider contacting us for responsive and quality IT support from knowledgeable US-based technicians. Schedule a FREE initial consultation with one of our senior advisors by calling 973-575-4950 or visiting www.ibsre.com.
During this call, we can address your unique situation and concerns and provide information about our services, including a competitive bid.